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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    March 16, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

holding five fundraisers, while the gop candidates are counting their delegates in english and spanish, this is "now." i'm luke russert in for alex wagner and joining me is our political analyst ed rendell, and maggie and ben smith. let's go to the showdown in chicago. president obama is holding two fundraisers in his hometown today while mitt romney campaigned down the road in rose mont this morning, romney may have bigger worries than president obama. he bumped up his visit to illinois to monday. this is what he told candidates. >> i need you to show up and vote, and you can vote multiple times by getting a friend to go with you. i know this is chicago, i had to
clarify that. >> ha, ha, mitt romney poking if you know at election fraud. mitt romney is in slight bit of damage control in a sense, after the wins by santorum, going to illinois, an expensive state in terms of media market. he is trying get a leg up. >> is concerned, there was a poll that showed he had a slight lead. we saw this in michigan and ohio, states that were supposed to be easy for him, and santorum made it tighter. they were barely in in mississippi, he was there just enough to raise the expectations and they are actually trying app play for this. >> it's all about the economy. i was reporting on monday and tuesday, a lot of manufacturing bomb going on, all the things that obama has been trying leverage in his campaign.
it's a state that has to go either way and i think he knows he has to get in early. >> there are credible polls, and that is the first question i were to ask. >> chicago tribune, that is okay. >> we have the nbc poll saying one thing and the gallup poll saying something opposed on president obama's favorability -- >> you do not trust the polls at all? >> not the snap shot polls. they do not mean a thing. if you read the polls in mississippi romney should have done better on election night. i think that romney will be okay in illinois and remember, this is for me, it's dejavu all over again, in march, april and may of 2008, hillary clinton won 10 out of 12 primaries and racked up margins and the obama people kept adding delegates.
and they said you cannot take it away from us, we have the most delegates and who won? romney got the most delegates. >> delegate has been the front-runner and he is trying play the underdog. >> super tuesday was not that super. obama on super tuesday in '08 locked it up. >> no, he did not lock it up. >> romney created a situation that was difficult -- romney is not there math mat imathmatical. >> if you had said that on the night of alabama and mississippi that romie would come up with more delegates, a month before, you would say that's a great win. >> i do not think that rick santorum is hillary clinton and mitt romney is barack obama in the coming from behind message. >> but the message is, if romney
gets into tampa, limps in to tampa with 1,000 delegates, 140 less than he needs, do you think it will be easy for them to give it to somebody else? >> no, i don't. not at all. >> that is his main message. >> santorum, we had a good one yesterday, the massive out spending. there it has from -- this is the one from yesterday, 26-twenty-one, this has shrank a bit. i want to show this aide about mitt and obama. >> mitt romney, more debt in taxes, and less jobs. more of the same. rick santorum, a bold plan for the middle class, create dynamic jobs and cut waistful spending.
>> not a creative ad. >> does not have to out spend romney, but if he get his message through enough, it's one that there's a conservative side of the republican party, that may not be the majority of the voters in illinois -- >> the money carries romney at the end of the day, right? >> if santorum were a stronger candidate the money would not carry romney. >> santorum is running out of a su suitcase, it's amazing that the money did not carry him furtherer. >> i want to talk about the interesting thing from the pugh research survey. 20% of romney supporters would vote for obama before santorum. and also in here, 11% of santorum supporters would vote for obama before romney. is that the fact that they think obama is more working class than
romney? >> it's hog wash. if you had taken a poll in june 2008, of hillary supporters, 40% of them said we are not voting for obama, ever, never. there was a group called pu -- my are we allowed to say? >> we are now. >> and what percentage in the hillary voters wound up voting for someone other than obama? zero. you think that 10% of santorum voters will vote for barack obama over mitt romney. >> do you think there's an appeal -- >> people that vote in their party's primaries do not vote for another party. what that poll says is that romney could be a strong election candidate. there's an overlapping appeal for those that like obama and will cross to romney. >> or do not feel as negative
about obama. >> it's not the haters. he does have an appeal to swing voters. >> if it come downs to a romney obama run off, it will come off to where the jobs are at. >> as speaker boehner said, where are the jobs. santorum, whenever he get as boost, he says something that screws him up as he goes and moves forward. in puerto rico, he said this about the english language being the state sanctioned language. take a listen. >> whether you are a state or not, people should speak skpeng it should be a common language among all americans. we understand that people of different cultures speak difference languages but we have a common language. >> this reminds me in 2000 when al gore was talking gun control and environment two weeks before the election. what is rick santorum doing?
>> it's stunning. what does he think he was going to gain by say thanksgiviing th. >> and where does it say that english is our official language? >> and then he claims it was taken out of context. >> in substance he was, because he does not look like he knew what he was talking about. >> that was an interesting perspective. >> in contraception, he wonders in -- he wanders into talking about his views. >> does the campaign have the organizational element to tell him to shut up? >> no, he does not want to seem to campaign in that way. he doesn't, he runs a campaign and the governor can speak to thrks he has the same group of advisers that he has had around him. and his wife is his main adviser, and she has been public
about she does not want him talking so much. the point, wouldn't this be time spent better in illinois, a state he should be trying fight for. >> there are 22 delegates. >> but he is not going to get them. but at the -- >> he is better in a wheat farm in southern illinois. >> for riding the horse that brought him, it's a campaign, he has over performed. >> at the end of the day, it allows us to go on the beach in san juan. after the break, how long is this primary race going to go? we will talk to michael steele, the man that invented the primary process, and the fight for delegates, that is next on "now." greetings from the windy city of chicago. people here sure are friendly but some have had a hard time understanding my accent. so to make sure people get every word of the geico savings message i've been practicing how to talk like a true chicagoan.
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if you look at the math of how many delegates he would have to win to be the nominee, it's a very difficult road for him. >> it will be very difficult for anyone to get to the number of delegates that is necessary to go in with the majority of the convention. >> trying to make sure that we have an open convention, i'm here all the way to tampa. >> rick santorum's communication director joked that nothing inspires a country like math and now it's all the republican candidates can talk about, getting loss in the algebra is a message about why they should be president, what is that old jimmy buffett song? math stinks? let's talk about that, michael steele joins us now and chairman steele, you invented this, this is your baby this elongated primary, how many nice voicemails have you received? >> they don't talk to me, man,
once they kicked me out they were done with me. so it's all good. >> once you signed up with msnbc, they really wrote you off. >> absolutely. >> is what you wanted to happen playing out now? >> it is, and from this standpoint, you have to look at it in two ways, one is, there's the process. the idea of elongating it so every candidate has the opportunity to pitch his case to the base of the party and for those states, particularly those activists in certain states that are written off and not included in the process to have their say. this has been always been about what we heard for that year of testimony and investigation and review of this process where activists said, look, once you get past iowa, new hampshire, south carolina and florida, the rest of us had nothing to do. by the time you were at late march and early april, those
state this is no impact and now they do. and the second thing is, i cannot help how you run your campaign. the bottom line is you have to have the organization and structure and be able to understand the math. this was no secret, this was put on the long before this point in time so the campaigns could prepare for the race and it gives those who did not have the money a chance to committee and those that did, they had to run it well. >> chris christie had a few choice words about this last month, i want to play it for you. >> that is why i think these rnc rules that turns it to pro portional delegates. this is the dumbest idea anybody had. you have a incumbent primary that does not have to -- >> chairman steele is the message the gop presidential candidates are trying to put out, is it being lost now in a
wonkie math problem? >> that is dumb, what is happening in that respect and i appreciate the governor's perspective, when these rules were written, there was not a incumbent president to run against and many thought the incumbent president would be john mccain. and the other fact is, we know it, we get the joke, you support mitt romney and romney is not doing well, so he does not like the process. he was sold a bill of goods that at this point in time, the nomination would be his. the math did not work for him. point one, point two, the message is more important than the process. this party has no message. it's talking through its rear end, it's not saying anything and not communicating and as a consequence, the people are losing interest. >> and michael, the point you made is a good one, it's up to the campaigns to stay on message. every time i slipped as a candidate and started to talk about polls, i would hear from my campaign manager, get back
and start talking about jobs or the environment or talking about energy. and yet, these guys get into this stuff all the time. >> look, you have a group of people in the back room, managing the math and the numbers. as the candidate, you should be as you said governor, out front with a positive forward thinking message forward looking message that is embracing the community that you are trying appeal to and for the president, that is everyone. you do not alienate hispanics and put women in a position where they look at you and say, no way in hell i'm voting for you. you do not turn off the black community. you bring it all together because that is the goal of the candidates. that is not happening now and we are paying a price for it. >> chairman, it's maggie, do you see romney making it to 1144? >> when you do if numbers, if you take the most generous
number of delegates that romney would have at this point, whether it's 419 or more, the rnc has fewer numbers. give him the remaining win or take all states, that is 382 delegates. he is still not at 1144, meaning he has to win, santorum may need to win 60% or 70%, newt will have to win 60% of that vote, do you see him taking that many? no. it's going to be tough for him at this point to get there. super tuesday was a big deal. they missed the opportunity to actually seal that number in, the way that super tuesday came out and now they will have to fight and scrap their way through and to get to that point, that 60-day window out before the convention after the last primary to negotiate their number to 1144. >> and someone who never misses an opportunity to go to the zoo
is newt gingrich, i want you to reacted to what he said today. >> i love life, i love getting up in the morning. i love seeing what the weather will be, i love animals and the process of interacting with people, and i love learning. so i am cheerful every day, because in my mind every day is cool, i'm still here. >> that was yesterday, he is going to the zoo today, who does that connect with, michael steele, who reacts to that? >> it kind of does a couple of things. one, it sort of pushing back on the narrative that he is the angry white man in the race and it's all about retribution for him and that you know, he has a vendetta he is executing on. he is trying to show the softer side. i like dthe zoo and pets. >> does everyone love the zoo? >> that connects with me, that is newt at his best, he is the happy warrior, when he is not being intensely negative, he has
a intensely positive happy side and in his -- his crowds feed on it and his supporters feed on it, and people think of him as an intellectual. that keeps him in the race. >> he did not come across as a intellectual. >> all right, when we come back, five fundraisers in one day and a 17 minute documentary, the obama 2012 team is fired up and ready to go, all that after the break. you'll get a tom hanks cameo too. ♪
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see rewards from tough decisions he had made. not for quick political gain, but for long-term and enduring change. >> that is from a new 17 minute documentary on the president's first term released by his campaign, he is beginning a full-court press of comp pain ads, starting with illinois his home state, indeed. i want to talk a bit about this, a lexus, who writes for real clear politics for the white house. she had this to say. how an under appreciated president saved the world and delivered enduring change and poised to do more if voters understand what is at stake, that the right viewpoint? >> it was about -- it was really trying to pull at the heart strings and kind of to rebuild the emotional connection that was at the core of 2008, and it
vaguely faded over the last four years. >> i agree with that and it's trying to put him above the problems that he inherited and they were substantial. we are in a recovery now, but it's weaker and taken longer. but the same has been true since the early '90s. that is not about obama and his policies, it's about globalization. >> this is something that the campaign is struggling with for months, there's not a ground swell of you know, enthusiasm and emotion and they have tried it with fundraising and votes. they are trying reconnect, i don't know if they will do it but they will start. >> they should stop trying, we will not generate enthusiasm for our base, the republicans are doing it for us. every time they attack women or say something stupid, they are doing it for us. hate is a better motivator than love. 2008, was an exception, gut
generally hate drives the pause. >> governor rendell is still entrenched in 2008, but i want to go back to 2004, with michael steele, this reminds me of the george w. bush pitch ad on the mound. is this the same kind of idea, glorify your candidate to saint status, this is out of your play book. >> absolutely. the president has to kick off his campaign. he will come out of the gate strong, he wants to pull at the heart strings and you know, show that he has the resolve and so he is the commander in chief. but the real political calculation here is that he is getting toasted in the numbers because of gas prices. and so, everything that they were going to roll out six weeks from now, they have to roll out now and sort of take advantage of the upheaval in the gop and put the president on steady
numbers. the public is saying we get the heart strings thing, but gas is $5 a gallon. that is what they are trying counter weight with this type of ad. >> not $5 a gallon. >> well on the west coast, it's close. >> all right, we can argue, dpincht strokes for different states here. michael steele, thank you so much for joining me, we appreciate it. is the super pac supporting president obama getting a boost from hollywood? we will talk to priorities usa after the break. ♪ oh! [ baby crying ] ♪ what started as a whisper ♪ every day, millions of people choose to do the right thing. ♪ slowly turned to a scream ♪ there's an insurance company that does that, too. liberty mutual insurance.
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president obama just landed in chicago on his way to his first of five fundraisers today, last month, president obama ramped up his fundraising efforts when he gave his blessing to the super pac supporting his campaign. a reversal, and in february, priorities usa action raised $2
million and that includes $1 million from comedian bill maher, and next up, a fundraiser hosted by jeffrey katzenberg, can democrats compete with the republicans fundraising we have bill burton with us who runs the obama super pac, bill, thank you for being here. >> hey, how are you doing, luke? we were going to talk about the buffalo bills. >> some time we will be there but not today. i have to talk about the money. your colleague at american cross roads said this about how much they will raise yesterday. >> now, our goal for the cycle is $240 million to $300 million, i think we will hit it this cycle. >> to quote, that is a-rod money right there, are you going to
get $300 million? can you compete with that? >> i'm not surprised that they will raise that money, it's a lot of money. but those that are investing in those campaigns would profit a lot from romney becoming president. that is not a huge investment for the billions that they would make when mitt romney deregulates the energy industry. >> and bill maher has had a lot of things to say about the republicans, and went after sarah palin with words that were much like rush limbaugh and sandra fluke, will you accept money from bill maher and will you give it back? conservatives are calling that. >> i know that republicans are trying to use this to distract the rush limbaugh comments. but i did not hear those folks
talking about ted nugent's money be given back, he said terrible things about women and has made a career out of it, but the thing that romney begged for his support and bragged about that has been washed right by those folks that are demonstrating selective outrage. vul garrity has no place in the public, no matter who is saying it. >> bill, it's ed rendell. >> hey, governor. >> it's not just conservatives that are calling for us to give it back, it's democratic women, i was on the phone a half our ago with a democratic, active woman and she said we have to give it back. we have to make the slate crystal clear, we stand for everything that is good about women's participation in politics and we have to have a no gray area. it has to be our good record against their terrible record. and what is -- >> i think, i think, governor that you make a good point that
there's a really big difference and what the choice is here and what it comes down to, what it comes down to is not just lining up all the supporters what are the most offensive things that you can find that they said from time to time, over the course of time, who is president obama and what kind of leadership would mitt romney bring to the table. are you talking about a person that would appoint who to the supreme court. there's bright lines and there's not gray lines in the choices in the election, nobody is going into the booths deciding on a candidate based on which entertainer they like. >> the video we are showing is the president getting off air force one to chicago. you want to get involved ben smith?
>> yeah, is the hesitating to give the money back, the? a worry about being out spent, spending $300,000 and not raising the amount of money that you thought you would get, is the campaign burn rate worrying you or the general disadvantage? >> i think there's no doubt that on the republican side, there's more money. this is going to be the most well funded presidential challenger in history. we are looking at $1.6 billion what you add up the romney campaign and the koch brothers and the american future fund, this is a group that has a p.o. box -- >> you have a p.o. box, where aren't you -- >> we are a group that is out here engaged in the public debate. there's no doubt that
republicans will have more money than democrats, the question is, you know what is the choice and will we have the resources to do our job and i think at $100 million, we will be able to engage in this election. >> i want to put up a graphic. if you look at different charitable things that happened. japan tsunami got $312 million. and the super pacs at $116 million, at least to surpass the tsunami and earthquake relief. what does it say about the state of our society that super pacs and dedicated to tearing someone down, get hundreds and hundreds of millions more than tsunami earthquake relief? >> i think it says terrible
things about our politics. you know, at the end of the day, i'm interested in the fact that for all mitt romney's money, that has not carried him in a lot of places. i do do not think it's all about money. it's about money in the average consumer's pocket. if you start to see income actually grow over the next few quarters. it has been flat that, is why we do not feel the up swing. that will play to president obama. >> i think those are two great points without question. number one, i hope that the justices that voted for citizens united are embarrassed. they ought to be, they have created a disgraceful time in american politics. money and not always win. it's more important that you have a certain amount of money to get your message across, but it does not matter, you do not have to match your dollar for dollar. >> the main effect of the super pacs right now is leveling the
playing field in the republican primary. rick santorum would not be in this race. he is keeping him in the game and keeping his message out, there's an argument to be made that this is leveling the playing field. >> whether it's good or bad -- >> to your point -- >> bill go ahead. >> i think that he has made a point about how the super pacs have made a large impact. but they are not just keeping gingrich and santorum in the gang. if it was not for romney's super pac he would not have been in in position that he is now. but for 20,000 votes between michigan and ohio, santorum would be the nominee right now. i think you have to say the person that is benefitting the most from super pacs, it's undoubtedly mitt romney. >> it has ended up that way, but it did not start out that way. >> and as governor rendell said, if you get to a threshold and it
keeps you rolling. >> oscar burton's dad, thank you so much, go bills. when we come back, the u.s. soldier that allegedly killed 16 u.s. civilians is in route back to the united states, we will have more details about his eye dentity and his lawyer speaks for the first time. ♪ you are my sunshine, my only sunshine ♪ ♪ you make me happy when skies are gray ♪ [ female announcer ] you know exactly what it takes to make them feel better. ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] that's why you choose children's tylenol. the same brand your mom trusted for you when you were young. ♪ how much i love you [ humming ] [ female announcer ] children's tylenol, the #1 brand of pain and fever relief recommended by pediatricians and used by moms decade after decade. [ humming ] and used by moms decade after decade. today is gonna be an important day for us. you ready?
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what is the latest? >> hi there, luke, at the karzai met with the victims of sunday's massacre and people within that meeting, there was tears and rage among the families. and president karzai himself apparently said that the u.s. has not been cooperating enough with the afghans when it comes to the investigation down south. according to the delegation, the afghan delegation that went down there they said there could have been more than one shooter that is after the u.s. showed video from a security blimp in the area showing one service member surrendering outside the base after the shooting and we are learning more about the alleged shooter. he was in custody in kuwait. but the kuwaity government was not happy with the fact that he was in their country. right now from what we understand, is he in flight to kansas, where he will be
detained until trial. >> obviously within the afghan media, there are extremist blogs but there are mainstream ones, what is the editorial pages saying about this? what is the mainstream thinking, it's not too extreme in either direction? >> i'm sorry. luke, i got part of your question there and i think it has to do with the media in afghanistan. it has made the media, it has made television, newspaper and been all over the internet and it's been to radio. nearly 90% of the country is premote and rural. so many do not have access to television and computers and newspapers, but many of them have radios. the reason we have not seen as much protests as we saw after the koran burnings could be because of that. for the past ten years they have heard of civilian casualties.
but the koran burning something different. >> thank you for your report. i want to bring it back up to the panel, to me, this makes the war effort increasing difficult in afghanistan, it has been, but if you look at the incidents that happened. you had a retaliation for this it was leon panetta landing and a guy in a truck trying sort of blow him up literally. but that displaced the official delegation, if you cannot have a welcoming delegation at a base, almost 11 years late sr? >> i think it speaks to how much it has been a mess and for how long. i was interested in the point that was made, i think it's right, that people responded for strongly to the burning of the koran, the accidental burning unanimous the killing of the civilians. it's terrible to say, but the killing of civilians in afghanistan is pretty common. people see it as a part of life.
burning of a koran has a sensitivity that we do not understand and i think it goes to an underlying facts that we do not understand this country. we do not understand the region in general. i would be curious how many people we have in the various cabinet departments that speak any of the language tlmpts there's a fundamental lack of understanding of what we are dealing with and it's not just about security, it's about really supporting the local democracy in these places which is a difficult long-term process. >> you are hearing from the democratic elite increasingly lately that joe biden was right when he was urging obama to get his loss and get out. biden called it a god forsaken moon escape. and that is the feeling prevailing in washington. >> that was wood ward's book about the first few years in office, that obama was in
afghanistan, because it would look like he was cutting and running, right, governor? >> no question, i think that democrats over react to prove that their tough. and sometimes toughness is not the right answer. >> george clooney who we all know very well, got arrested today in front of the embassy in sudan. i think we have video of that, essentially saying that the sudan government is not allowing necessary aide to come through, there he is. i wish i can say it's a rare occurrence in washington. you usually see high profile people getting arrested in protest because there's more cameras there than protesters. do you think it gets traction? >> it gets traction because it's george clooney. but it's not going to change the dynamic in the conversation, it should. it should be getting more attention. and the governor will disagree? >> not disagree, but clooney was active in persuading the
legislature to help the sudan investment. it was not an easy bill to get past. his role was impactsful. he really believes in the issue. he is incredibly sincere, he is not doing it for his career. >> i think that is very clear, this is not a attention stunt. >> his dad was there too. father and son bonding getting arrested in the embassy. it's a nice thing. after the break, what just happened, a tweet from alex to end the tweet. i know you like me but you have to have alex on her own show. we will have it up next on "now." [ male announcer ] juice drink too watery?
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the big dance is here, but as college teams fall left and right, there seems to be no elimination in the republican tournament, alex wagner is off today getting a much needed rest, but before she left she
took a look at what just happened. >> i share with the prime minister a unique tradition of bracketology. >> brackets and fast breaks. >> and with it no signs the republican final four is ending any time soon. >> i stress going tampa. >> it is a race to win dixie with any meals necessary. >> i have had grits before. >> cheesy grits. >> cheese grits. >> grits with gravy. >> grits. >> i like grits. >> i had grits this morning. >> grits and shrimp. >> the top seed in the south fell. and tried to trade himself to another team. >> between santorum and myself we will get over 2/3 of the
delega delegates. >> rick santorum clinched the top spot in the finals. >> we did it again. >> with the southern charm. >> we are the nice candidate in the race. we really are. >> was quick to wear off the campaign. >> dog that strapped the dog on the top of his car and went speeding down the highway. what was he thinking? >> bo versus shame us and. >> mitt romney learned that a pro level salary could only buy hugs in alabama. >> i've been getting hugs from the southern girls 12 -- and and while the forth candidate called foul. fans wondered if he was still playing. >> what is your reaction to kansas today? >> the caucus? >> nobody gave me the numbers. >> elsewhere in the political game. >> i have this thing and it's golden. >> a figure came back from retirement.
>> maybe one of the lessons to the whole story is that you have to be maybe a bit more humble. i thought about ghandi and king. >> tried to score one last point before the buzzer. >> as bad as this is, it's another part of a long and hard journey that will get worse before it gets better, but it's not over. >>. ♪ >> na, na, na, na, hey, hey, goodbye. around the horn here, are we going to double overtime here with the presidential race or will it be done? >> it's like the third quarter and one team is way, way up, you still are sitting in the seats or go to the parking lot to beat the traffic. that is where we are. >> we are going to overtime. >> pennsylvania will be
important, if romney comes back and beats santorum in pennsylvania, then i think it's over. >> ot. my cheesy grits are ready. >> can newt become a pennsylvania an in time? >> no, but we have a lot of zoos. if he visits everyone of his zoos he has a shot. >> in you government it's the new delegate math. >> maggie and ben, a pleasure. that is all for "now." have a great weekend, keep up with the show on twitter at "now" with alex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. hello ms. andrea, are you excited that the bills got mario williams? >> i'm not excited about the buffalo bills. i'm waiting for rg-3. luke, man, have a great weekend. >> right back at you my friend. >> it's great to see you there. coming up next on "andrea mitchell reports," i'm there as george clooney is arrested while protesting outside sudan's
embassy. all were arrested as well as two members of congress. joining me today, spanx founder, sarah blakely, this year's youngest billionaire. all that next on "andrea mitchell reports" stay with us. two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy.
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